Application of Air Separation Technology in Natural Gas Liquefaction


For many readers of CryoGas International, Chart Industries, Inc. (chartindustries.com) is synonymous with the atmospheric gas industry through the design and manufacture of brazed aluminum heat exchangers (BAHX). These are used at various stages during the cryogenic air separation process, together with horizontal and vertical storage tanks and other specialized equipment used in the distribution and storage of air gases. However, Chart is also positioned at the heart of the booming natural gas production and liquefaction industry.

In this article we discuss the application of Chart’s traditional core specialty BAHX products to cryogenic natural gas processing with a particular focus on liquefied natural gas (LNG). Through its core products and a high level of vertical integration, Chart addresses the entire small-scale LNG value chain—liquefaction, distribution, storage, and end-use—to deliver solutions facilitating the use of natural gas as a cleanburning, safe fuel alternative to diesel.


Despite sometimes still being perceived as a black box technology, BAHX first saw service in industrial cryogenic gas separation during the 1950s when it was adopted for use from the aerospace industry. Since that time, Chart’s BAHX group, which includes the renowned Altec and Marston brands, has subsequently designed and manufactured more than 10,000 units that have been deployed around the world. The principal manufacturing watershed occurred in the ‘80s with the introduction of vacuum brazing, which enabled the manufacture of larger, more complex units. This subsequently allowed Chart to continually expand the pressure limits and the maximum unit sizes at which elevated pressures can be reached.

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